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Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King

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Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 12:30 am | Updated: 12:13 pm, Mon Feb 11, 2019.

On Friday, January 17, hundreds of community leaders and citizens gathered in Homestead at Phichol Williams Community Center to pay tribute to the birth, life and legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King.

Starting with a wonderful breakfast provided by the Palace Gardens, a motivational event honoring several outstanding citizens and organizations dedicated to improving the community and keeping the MLK dream of a

better life for all, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background.

Opening the program was Carlene C. Wright who acknowledged each of the many dignitaries scattered throughout the crowd. Pastor Russell Black gave an inspirational message of “hope and continued progress.” That was followed by the Presentation of Colors by Boy Scout Troop 418 as Councilwoman Jenifer N. Baily led the Pledge of Allegiance. The Miami Arts Charter School Choir sang the National Anthem in perfect harmony followed by five young ladies with a dance performance.

A video of the life of Dr. King and his mission played the motivational yet peaceful words of his speeches reminding all in attendance that there is still work to be done to achieve equality for all. Of mention was Dr. Kings last book which points out that a choice must be made, “Chaos or Community.”

Several awards were presented. Pastor Brock Shiffer has been assisting communities in need, as he started a program that adopted 16 low-achieving elementary schools, taking several from “F” ratings to “B” levels. Rev. Shiffer motivated members of the community along with military personnel to join in and volunteer. Though Rev. Shiffer has moved to Ft. Pierce, he continues to be involved in the South Dade community while finding time to duplicate his good work in his new location. Le Jardin Community Center, Inc., was honored for providing quality education in a safe environment to over 700 children. Their goal is “to educate children to become outstanding citizens.” In absence, Mr. Lovey Clayton was honored for returning to his roots in Homestead/Florida City and working to improve the community. Dorothy Stevens Thompson was for 44 years of music education - 30 of those were spent at A.L. Lewis Elementary School in Homestead.  She also ran a weekly music club for her students.

Last but not least was Keynote Speaker Reverend Dr. Alphonso Jackson, Sr of Second Baptist Church in Richmond Heights. He gave an uplifting and humorous speech calling for community leaders to commit to equality and the betterment of society. His message, “Elevate expectations…challenge youth to aim higher…go back to where you failed and try it again…don’t be afraid to fail but fail forward, continue trying, continue to strive…be a thermostat not a thermometer, a thermometer can only measure but a thermostat can change temperature. Be a model, let others see your success…be a mentor. Youth can do amazing things but we need to mentor them.”

The meeting ended with a song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” As the crowd exited to face the day’s challenges, you could feel the words of Dr. Martin Luther King encouraging all men and women to work together to make this world a better place for all of mankind.

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